Following the safely distant 2020 Thanksgiving gatherings, large groups of families and friends are gathering to break bread this week in Boulder.
We look forward to the hugs, pranks and toast, but frankly we also dread the potential political discussions around the table.
As the Thanksgiving host, your mission is to subtly guide the event so that everyone leaves on good terms. With the host’s job also comes the responsibility of recognizing the gorilla sitting in the middle of your festive dining table.
It’s hunger and its cousins.
We’re not talking about giving people a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It’s a nice annual guilt-washing gesture, but it doesn’t touch the pervasive food insecurity faced daily all year round by your neighbors in Boulder County.
None of us want to dwell on the damage malnutrition causes children and families on Thanksgiving. We live in Boulder County, which has developed a stellar reputation as a home to stellar restaurants, craft breweries, natural foods, and organic farming, but the seasonings aren’t heavenly for everyone who calls this place. their home.
A statewide survey conducted by the nonprofit Hunger Free Colorado found that one in three neighbors suffers from food insecurity, a problem the pandemic continues to exacerbate. This includes about 15,000 residents of the city of Boulder who suffer from some form of food insecurity each month despite the increasing benefits of SNAP food stamps and the efforts of food banks. Those under 18 and minority and immigrant communities are much more likely to experience it.
It is not just the impact of food insecurity on nutrition and general well-being – the fear of running out of food or being able to serve good meals, not just calories, has been directly linked to feelings of depression, anxiety and lack of dignity. Just ask anyone who has had to swallow their pride and visit a food bank in the past two years.
We can passionately discuss other social, religious and political issues, but can we agree that no one deserves to go through this, regardless of their zip code? When so many people suffer this kind of damage, one wonders if Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette or Louisville are really the best places to live in the United States.
On Thanksgiving Day, I ask hosts of parties and gatherings to do something courageous. When your guests finally sit down and calm down and you have your moment of welcome, grace, or meditation, take a moment to tell them about hunger and pass on a hat, literally. Have your guests each donate $ 5 (or $ 10 or more) to be donated tomorrow to a nonprofit that feeds the people of Boulder County.
With rising food prices, trucker shortages, and supply chain crises, local food banks will accept dusty cans of Great Northern beans from your pantry, but what they need, because of the scale of the problem, it’s cash.
Suggest to your guests that it is a service charge for living in heaven or a tithe of compassion. Accept checks, debit cards, Apple Pay, and Bitcoin, if you like. Remind friends and family eager for dinner that the money will not go to helping national or statewide programs for people they will never see, but rather families in cars than they see the traffic lights on Arapahoe Avenue.
The sheer number of these reputable nonprofits should give you a sense of the extent of this community problem as another pandemic winter ensues. In addition to cash, all of these organizations welcome volunteers.
Harvest of Hope Pantry: This organization focuses solely on maintaining a Boulderfood pantry that serves all who come to the door, including residents without a kitchen. www.hopepantry.org
AEF: Emergency Family Assistance Association helps families with housing, transportation and hunger issues and maintains a food bank in North Boulder. www.efaa.org
Community food sharing: The Boulder-born nonprofit is the largest source of food for Boulder County agencies with mobile and on-site pantries and senior programs. www.communityfoodshare.org
Food Rescue in Boulder: The organization collects soon-to-expire or overstocked food and produce from over 20 Boulder supermarkets primarily by bicycle and distributes them to public housing, pantries, community senior centers and other sites organized by residents. . www.boulderfoodrescue.org
Sr Carmen Community Center: This non-profit, non-religious organization helps vulnerable residents with basic services and resources, including a large pantry serving Lafayette, Louisville, Superior and Erie. www.sistercarmen.org
Meals on wheels: Open since 1969, Meals on Wheels offers nutritious meals to vulnerable seniors in Boulder five days a week, along with a reassuring wellness check-up. www.mowboulder.org
Feed the stampede: Yes, there is also a food insecurity problem at the University of Colorado at Boulder. According to a recent national survey, 38 percent of students in four-year institutions face food insecurity. The Campus Pantry and Feed the Stampede Mobile Pantry distributed more than 218,000 books to students. www.colorado.edu/volunteer/food
As you move through this holiday season, party hosts can continue this soul-fulfilling tradition. When your guests ask, “Can I bring something?” Respond by saying, “Yes, in cash.” “
Words to chew
“If you don’t care how to put food on your table, you [should be] worrying about why others are not having food on their tables. “-Dear
John Lehndorff hosts a call-up version of Radio Nibbles Thanksgiving Day at 8 a.m. on KGNU (88.5 FM, streaming on www.kgnu.org) to answer listeners’ last-minute questions about cooking the feast.